Beyond Reason: Uncovering the Collective Unconscious 'Code' for Instinctive Breakfast Consumption
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The purpose of this study is to explore and describe the unconscious cultural influences to breakfast consumption in New Zealand, and how these influences can provide value to practitioners and academics. Specifically, it seeks to uncover an unconscious cultural code that drives consumers to make certain decisions and influences their behaviour. To do so, the researcher proposes a novel approach, named the Logic, Emotion, and Instinct (LEI)© method wherein a three-stage projective focus group format is detailed, which builds on the work of Rapaille (2007) and is structured around MacLean’s (1973, 1985, 1990) Triune brain model. The method is designed to assist the researcher to guide participants through various mental states from rational thinking, past emotion to one’s instincts, where the true causes of behaviour are believed to reside. The results highlighted that people rationalise not eating breakfast by their belief that they lack time in the morning. The key tension underlying the emotional responses to breakfast is the conflict between wanting to eat indulgent foods but feeling that they should eat healthily. Instinctively, breakfast represents being cared for, the nurturing passed down from a Caregiver. Overall, the culture code indicates that New Zealanders think of breakfast as the comfort they receive, either from feeling cared for or from the satisfying sensations derived from indulgent foods. This study provided a description of the culture code for breakfast in New Zealand. For practitioners, the study explains how marketers can use the culture code to position their brands to gain preference in the marketplace, specifically in the New Zealand breakfast foods category. For academics, this research draws new conceptual links between established theories, providing new knowledge to the marketing discipline. Moreover, this study has developed and detailed the novel LEI© method that can be used to uncover unconscious cultural codes in future settings.